REGINA, Sask. — Shippers and carriers will have more options for travel routes available in Saskatchewan, as an additional 1,190 kilometres of road have been added to the province’s primary weight highway network.
The expanded highway network is part of Saskatchewan’s transportation strategy, which was announced by Highways and Transportation Minister Eldon Lautermilch at Vigro Seed and Supply in Sedley, approximately 50 km southeast of Regina along Highway 33, one of several highways included in the expansion.
“This announcement will have a direct impact on shippers like Vigro Seed and Supply and their customers,” stated Lautermilch. “Industries including agriculture, the oil and gas sector, mining, forestry, manufacturing, trucking and others will see hauling efficiencies and cost savings estimated at $18 million per year as a result of this initiative.”
The primary weight expansion is a major component of the province’s long term transportation strategy, Transportation for Economic Renewal. This strategy recognizes that the current network needs to be more properly aligned to support Saskatchewan’s diverse and growing economy.
To guide realignment and development of the provincial transportation system, the strategy will focus on four key areas: investment in rural economic corridors; partnering with municipalities to develop urban connectors to the provincial highway system; investment in infrastructure in northern Saskatchewan; and continued support for the development of the shortline rail system.
“Allowing primary weight access on a larger number of provincial highways will benefit industry in rural Saskatchewan,” said David Marit, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. “This is exactly the kind of initiative we have advocated as part of our Clearing the Path recommendations to remove impediments to economic development and improve the business climate in rural Saskatchewan.”
Exports generate two-thirds of Saskatchewan’s GDP. The province’s 26,000-km highway system is the most extensive per capita in the country. Transportation investments, $2.8 billion in the past 10 years, have resulted in significant improvements to this network.
“In addition, the expansion is designed to divert truck traffic to highways that have been upgraded in recent years and are capable of carrying heavier weights, alleviating pressure on the secondary or thin membrane surface (TMS) highway network,” said Lautermilch.
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